LETHBRIDGE – Anyone interested in agriculture, innovation and entrepreneurship will have a chance to explore all those avenues at Lethbridge College this fall.
The Agriculture Entrepreneur in Residence program, known as AgENT, will launch in September by pairing students with local industry partners to solve real-world problems that affect the agriculture industry.
All Lethbridge College students are eligible to join the extracurricular AgENT program.
In a release, the college states at the beginning of the academic year students will be presented with a challenge and then receive industry mentorship as they brainstorm, design and test solutions.
Students will have the opportunity to take part in a speaker series, workshops and more and at the end of the year, they will pitch their solutions to industry with the chance to win awards and see their ideas put into action.
AgENT program coordinator Megan Shapka says their AgENT participants will focus on idea generation and outside-the-box thinking.
“We’re providing opportunities to develop foundational skills and inspire entrepreneurial spirit.”
The students’ mission will provide them with practical experience while expanding their network by connecting them with key industry partners.
The experience they gain by working through an issue that currently faces the agriculture industry, according to Shapka, will help set them apart from other job seekers once they graduate and begin their chosen careers.
Dr. Kenny Corscadden, Associate Vice President Research and Dean of the Centre for Technology, Environment and Design, says they’re hopeful that even though it’s agriculture-focused, the skills gained will be attractive to all students at Lethbridge College.
“Students from different backgrounds and programs bring different strengths and as a whole, they’ll create a team that will be much stronger than just having students from one discipline,” Corscadden added.
The program ties into Lethbridge College’s role as a collaborative member of the Regional Innovation Network of Southern Alberta.
“AgENT is just one component of Lethbridge’s well-established innovation ecosystem, which is intended to provide a pragmatic approach that will complement existing regional activities and ultimately feed into the innovation pipeline,” Corscadden said.
To launch the program, the college is working to connect with industry partners who are interested in putting students to the test.
An initial group of members from diverse sectors of the local agriculture industry met at the college in late June to brainstorm challenges and opportunities facing the industry.
The goal is to have students addressing real-life challenges, not just hypotheticals, that will help improve the agriculture industry in southern Alberta.
Cor Van Raay, a leading Canadian cattle producer, donated a $5 million gift to Lethbridge College and the University of Lethbridge that helped make the AgENT program possible.
Any students interested in the AgENT program will be able to join in September, but for more information, you can visit here.
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